Interview: Dani Filth of Cradle Of Filth
These are dark days. We live our lives cowering in the shadow of a future black and bleak, snatching all too brief glimpses of romance, hope and humanity, burdened by monochrome drudgery and the stupidity of mankind. The shit keeps hitting the fan and we're all getting splashed. That's why those of us who live for the moment need a soundtrack that provides both unhindered escapism and a heightened, tangible sense of reality's uplifting sensual power. That's why we need Cradle Of Filth more than ever. This is a band that caters for the filthy little secrets inside all of us, eliciting those exhilarating erotic and animal charges that make our time on this planet worth living. Now, after 25 years as a band, Cradle Of Filth are more potent and devastating than ever before as they approach the release of their latest and perhaps greatest studio effort, Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness Of Decay. IRH writer, Zachary Quinn spoke with the Gothic metal legend himself, Dani Filth, about the new album, his poetic lyricism, touring, and much more in a very interesting and in-depth discussion.
Hey Dani, thanks for taking time to take our call.
The new album is approaching, Cryptoriana- The Seductiveness of Decay. Wow! What a title. Am I pronouncing that right?
Yeah that's correct. Obviously a play on words of Crypt and Victoriana, Cryptoriana implies the Victorians’ infatuation with the supernatural and the attraction to death.
Great, very interesting. Witt the last record Hammer of the Witches you said felt like a bit of a resurgence, does that vibe continue with this album?
Well definitely. Same line up. Same studio, Same artist and who shot the video, Same producer,
Different songs on it obviously. I think resurgence continues. I think this is another step forward for the band. Partly new territory. We decided to incorporate a live choir again. With an emphasis on a lead Soprano making it very haunting and ghostly, not to include orchestral intro-outro pieces.
There was the addition of Kristine From Nymphetamine back in the day. She sings a part, on a track called 'Vengeful Spirit' kind of speaks for itself which character she plays. Of course it's her voice but it's a very different song to Nymphetamine. Also I think the heaviest song we've had in a long while resides in 'Death and the Maiden'. The songs as well are quite long, around the 7 to 9 minute mark. Which I think is something because they meander the very ornate fast twin guitar parts harmonies solos big Gothic melodramas when comes to the drop-downs and I think because of that people think it sounds a lot like old school Cradle and I would say especially because of the twin guitar harmonies.
The guitars on this record are sounding great, really aggressive. Sounds like they really pushed themselves.
Yeah we have two amazing guitarists, well three actually, our bass player also writes guitar parts.
As a precursor we traveled to Brno in the Czech Republic, that's where Martin and Ashok reside.
We spent a week there kind of team building and building the album. I actually thought we would only come back with three to four finished songs and the basis of the rest of the album, When in actual fact we pretty much came back with the whole record and that was really due to everyone really prolifically writing prior for that session. As a band we're quite a unit now, very tight.
Cradle has been known for line up changes in the past, I'm sure the fans are happy to have a stable line up. How long has this been the case now?
Two albums now. It was the beginning of 2013 when Richard and Ashok were drafted into the fold and that was a necessity because we were undertaking a co-headline tour with Behemoth and we committed to it and then suddenly we had issues with Paul our previous guitarist, he was living in the States and had family problems he needed to sort out. Shortly after that, James our live guitarist had quite a severe neck injury and was undergoing surgery so he was out of the equation as well. So the introduction of those two guitars was pure necessity to get the tour and fortunately we gelled on that tour so well, we played so well and we got along, exploring Paris and Rome getting to know each other. At the end of the tour it just seemed to be the best thing moving forward for the band.
Great to hear the new members are working together nicely! I also wanted to know what was it like working Scott Akins again? I heard he pushed you guys a lot last time.
Well he really pushed us this time as well. He's a very good friend of mine and because of that he's able to tell the band what he really thinks about things, You know he'll be like really is this song good enough? And I think that's what a producer should really be doing, helping to fine tune and make the songs better. The studio is relatively close to my house, like half an hour drive into the countryside, it's a good studio, does the job it's not huge. We really emphasized on work and the entire time we didn't go to the pub once which is unheard of in these parts.
It's good that you have a friend in the studio and he can be honest with you guys and get the best results out of you.
Exactly! And I feel comfortable working with Scott, he understands the band, he knows the fundamentals behind the band.
That's fantastic. You said 'Cryptoriana' is infused with Victorian gothic horror. Does it follow a strict concept like past records like "Godspeed" or more free flowing?
No it's just influenced whether it be infatuation with classical mythology for example, the track 'Death and the Maiden' is essentially about Hades and Persephone or its based in Victorian England or it's my own example of a Victorian gothic horror story.
Great! 'Death and the Maiden' really stood out to me.
Yeah, it's very lengthy and it's probably one of the heaviest tracks we've written as a band.
It has it's fast parts but generally it's a very heavy lumbering track. I think there's a lot of diversity on the record and we have two bonus tracks on the special edition CD too which aren't given any less love and affection (laughs). One of those tracks is a cover of Annihilator's 'Alison Hell', which we chose to do at this particular junction of time because we wanted to do it for a long while, is primarily because for one, we'd met Jeff Waters on two occasions and told him about it and got his seal of approval and since then have sent it to him and he loves it. It's very close to the original and we didn't want to over-saturate it but there are a few bits to Cradle-fy it.
Can't wait to hear your take on it. In the past historical figures have been present within your elaborate lyrics. Do any certain characters from the Victorian era make an appearance for this release?
No not as such, but there are passing nods In the tracks like "The Seductiveness of Decay." It's essentially about London which is the crowning jewel of the British Empire, which is essentially built on an Necropolis. At the onset of the industrial which the basis of that was rooted in coal manufacture, work houses, child labour and places ripe with cholera and disease. People were also infatuated with the occult and death, seeing it as an actual branch of science and public figures who strongly believed in it as well. So yeah it was interesting era. That track "The Seductiveness of Decay" cross references a lot of things from Jack the Ripper to Resurrection Men, people who dig up bodies to be taken away for experiments, So yeah, I guess that's the crowning jewel of the album also.
Very interesting indeed. The debut single 'Heartbreak and Seance' was released a few weeks ago along with a fantastic video, everyone seemed to be having a blast making it come to life. How much fun was that?
Yeah it was great! We traveled to Latvia to film that, we pooled the budget for the video, artwork and photography all into one place and had this Arthur Berzinsh who undertook the artwork for "Hammer of the Witches" as well. Not to sound course or anything but it was obviously much cheaper to do it in Latvia than in a place like London. When we turned up there was a big crew and set, the crew made sure there was a lot of attention to detail, we had snakes, women making flowers, a stunt raven and all these naked figures it was amazing. What I love about it is it really brings the artwork to life and brings these sort of classical elements of Cradle of Filth to life.
Definitely really looked brilliant. The antlers on your mic stand were pretty extravagant (laughs). Which made me think, do you have a favourite prop from any past videos?
Um, favorite prop... Possibly not a prop, but I really liked the puppets that were in "Mannequin."
Would've loved to have owned one but I never got the chance to, they were fantastic! I also liked the bum faced dwarfs in "From Cradle to Enslave", but obviously they were real so I couldn't take them home either.
Damn it (laughs). So the new album is nearly, here do you have any tours coming up?
Yeah we have. We start in Japan at Loud Park Tokyo then we do a UK Tour and then have a bit of time off. The real main tour really starts mid-January, 8 weeks in Europe then hopefully Central America, definitely North America again, lengthy 7-8 weeks weeks, then we come to Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, and then back here for the Summer period.
Very busy! That's great. I was going to ask if you were making a return to Australia.
If I remember correctly April-ish. I know the dates, but I can't say because of our manager.
Understandably. Now I've got a bit more of a silly question for you, but if you could form your own supergroup with you as the frontman and the other members as mythological creatures who or what would be in the band?
(laughs) God! Yeah well um that's a little difficult, well we would obviously need a manticore in there because it would undermine the structure of that whole album and would have to have a dragon, a cyclops and Medusa, you would have to have all the classical creatures. See you'd want a really powerful supergroup, so yeah a Kraken and you'd have to play in Athena close to an ocean to actually get him involved and his guitar would have to be massive and waterproof (laughs).
That's awesome! Thanks for answering. Now you're a busy man with music but you have lent your talents to film, voice acting and released 'The Gospel of Filth' with Gavin Baddeley back in 2010. Any film work or books on the horizon?
Well I'm hoping to write a book. I'm hoping because I really like the idea of writing lyrics around a book and rather than basing it on someone else's book it would be something that I've written.
I can see the potential crossing over in that market, and people wouldn't have to but they could get like a CD package with the book and like draw videos from that. It would be an exciting thing to undertake, I just haven't gotten off my ass to get around to it yet. I've undertaken voice acting for a film which started as a comic book called Realm of the Damned. It's about a group of black metal kids who bring back this vampire god who searches the world looking for other powerful entities to steal their power to overthrow his sister another vampire who resides in the Vatican. It's set in this dystopian future where monsters rule the world, I also voice the werewolf king. Meant to be doing the second part of that soon which is great because it gives me access to Comic-Con and I haven't been to Comic-Con yet. Oh and I had a bit in the movie 'Baphomet' as a professor of the occult which was fun.
You are known for being a insanely good writer and in a league of your own really. Have you always been passionate about writing?
Yeah, always been passionate about lyrics, I think it's really important to have a good set of lyrics, artwork, presentation and videos. It's just part and parcel of being in Cradle of Filth and I think people see that and fans expect that now. I've kind of fallen into a corner with that especially with slinging a theme around an album or something that's conceptual but yeah going back to the lyrics. Yeah I've always been into writing, although writing lyrics does take up a lot of time. We have a busy schedule on the road and it really takes it out of you.
Last question. You have been fronting Cradle of Filth for the last 25 years, Do you ever think about slowing down?
Well evidently not. I've definitely felt like it in the last couple of days because of my birthday last week, Bit of a crazy week, my family were over. My daughter and brother took me to the football over in London and went out with lots of friends, So you know lots of partying then two days in London to do press. Then flew out to Germany yesterday morning but I didn't sleep at all the night before and I did about 17 to 18 interviews yesterday and literally felt like a zombie. In Germany now went back to the hotel last night and had a similar problem. I went to bed and I was so over tired that I woke up in the middle of the night and subsequently couldn't go back to sleep. It's in those instances when you're alone in the middle of the night that you think, can I continue this for much longer? But yes definitely, long story short.
Written by Zachary Quinn
Watch this video for their latest single 'Heartbreak And Seance' below: